The first Maldives Game Fishing Challenge held in association with Dhiraagu last week from 9 to 12 November has been praised by international anglers and experts as an exceptional inaugural tournament. Twenty anglers, including a small overseas contingent from Australia and Singapore, enjoyed competing under International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) rules and reported good fishing in the designated fishing zone in and around North and South Male’, and Vaavu atolls. Maldivian anglers were comprised of both Maldives nationals and expatriates.
Experts representing the IGFA and deep sea fishing publications were impressed with the organization of the event and the suitability of the Maldives for world-class game fishing competitions. Anglers reported to Tournament Headquarters at Bandos Island Resort the capturing of Sailfish and Wahoo, as well as the tagand- release of Sailfish, though the prized Tuna and Marlin species remained elusive.
Competitors set sail on the first day of fishing on Thursday 9 November following an impressive ‘sail past’ by the 9 participating boats of the famous Jetty One in Male’. The tournament spanned three days in total, concluding in the late afternoon on Saturday. By that stage, all prize categories bar two had been
determined. The team from Meeru outscored their counterparts by taking out the Champion Team prize. This entitles them to a place in the IGFA’s World Offshore Championship to take place in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico from 13-18 May 2012.
Official event results were as follows:
|3rd Place||Hamish Taggart||Kurumba||300||300|
|Heaviest Sailfish||Hussein Naseem||Bandos||30.7 kg||30.7 kg|
|Heaviest Wahoo||Yaanty||Meeru||15 kg||15 kg|
A keen participant and supporter, Mr Tim Simpson, editor of Australia’s BlueWater magazine, conveyed his enthusiasm for the event: “All through the event we felt an incredible excitement, knowing that at any moment the winning fish could jump on and make our dreams come true. It is a tournament with a big future and I certainly hope to be able to fish it again.”
The success of the inaugural event has bolstered the energy of the organizing committee for the upcoming 2012 event and beyond. Mr Ahmed Nazeer, Vice President of the MGFA spoke energetically of the first year’s competition: “We started organizing the event with dual goals in mind – to offer visitors and
Maldivians a new event on the sports and tourism calendars, and to help promote sustainable fishing practices here in the Maldives. Through the staging of the inaugural Maldives Game Fishing Challenge, we believe we have taken the first small steps towards the achievement of our objectives.”
The 2012 tournament has been slated for 23 to 26 November and is likely to be held in the same general area. For results, photos and information on next year’s event, visit www.mgfa.org.mv.